The market has been waiting for EMC to acquire a cloud gateway company, but for years the speculation was it would be acquired by the cloud division as a data onboarding tool for Atmos. Today EMC announced the acquisition of Natick MA- based TwinStrata by the storage division as a part of its VMAX strategy. This is indeed an intriguing and smart move. EMC VMAX embedding a gateway allows EMC to leverage its FAST tiering technology to add a cloud tier. Of course, there is certainly broader potential for the technology to be leveraged across EMC divisions longer term. This will just be the first instantiation of the technology. It also fits well with the cloud-like attributes of the new, third generation VMAX, which introduces storage services and flexible CUP resources that can be allocated in an elastic manner to support front or back-end storage processes.
Strategically, why is EMC making this acquisition? Amazon Web Services is perhaps EMCs biggest threat in the market. What happens to EMC if everything moves to the cloud? Embedding TwinStrata into VMAX allows EMC to let customers leverage the cloud but within the EMC ecosystem and under EMC control. Remember, the value for EMC is not in capacity or disk drives - it is storage controllers and intelligence (and now, storage services). Essentially the cloud becomes just another cheap capacity tier (Amazon helps by dropping prices every couple of months or so), and EMC is able to price for performance intelligence and functionality. Good move for EMC to allow customers to use the cloud but keep EMC footprint and focal point.